Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A New Curveball Grip For Phil

Apparently, Phil Hughes hasn't been too happy about his curveball this season, and is now about to introduce a new grip. Here's more from Mark Hale:
"It never looks like a strike," Hughes said. "And I just wasn't getting the reactions that I really should be getting out of a curveball."

In response, Hughes revealed to The Post that he will employ a new power curve, hopefully as soon as his start on Sunday in Toronto. It's one of two major changes for the struggling 25-year-old, who said he will also implement new mechanics to his delivery.

Hughes will be using a new grip on his curveball, one that he characterized as more customary than his old grip and that he believes gives him more velocity as well as stronger spin and drop. Mechanically, he is changing the way he raises and plants his front, left leg, believing his current motion has gotten to "a point where it was really hindering my stuff."


He said he has been working on the changes since his start last Wednesday in Cleveland, his first since an inflamed shoulder landed him on the disabled list in April.

Hughes' old curve grip was what he calls "a spike," where one of the three fingers used to hold the pitch is bent. He had tried increasing his arm speed to improve his old curve to no avail, and determined that changing the grip was necessary.

"I feel like I've made really good strides with it. It's a lot more of like a power curveball now," Hughes said. "[Pitching coach Larry Rothschild] was excited about it in the bullpen. I feel really good about it, too."


"I'm excited about it because it's been so long since I've really had that good swing-over-the-top curveball that I became accustomed to like in Double-A," he said. "It sounds kind of weird to fiddle with something in the middle of the year, but if it can make me better, then I'm going to do it for sure."

As for his mechanics, Hughes said, "I just felt like over the years, basically starting from my hamstring injury [in 2007], I've kind of formed a couple bad habits. . . . I'm trying to correct a couple of those things."

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